Sunday, September 07, 2008

Shatel: Solich a Better Recruiter than Callahan?

On a weekend of lousy matchups in college football, there were two games in particular I was interested in. It wasn't the matchups, but rather the former Huskers in charge. The Buffalo at Pitt game wasn't until late afternoon, but the Ohio at Ohio State game was on simultaneous with the Husker/Spartan matchup. I must admit I was keeping an eye on the out of town scores on the scoreboard, and was starting to get intrigued when I saw "Ohio 14, Ohio State 12, 4th quarter" flash. (Even Corn Blight from CornNation was texting me for a score update on that one!)

In the end, Ohio's five turnovers killed their chances to pull off the upset in the horseshoe. As we were going through this weeks predictions, I thought Ohio was going to be intently focused on Ohio State while the Buckeyes would be thinking ahead to their matchup with #1 USC next week. I predicted Ohio State 27-13, which was pretty darn close. Nevertheless, Frank Solich's team put on a good performance in Columbus on Saturday, and he's got the Bobcats on the right path in the MAC.

Contrast that with Nebraska on Saturday, as the Huskers muddled through the first three quarters against a San Jose State team that nearly got beat by 1-AA Cal-Davis last week. Tom Shatel noted that everyone in the press box was also keeping an eye on the Ohio/OSU game. In some respects, there was a similarity between the Huskers performance against the Spartans with the Huskers performance in 2007.

My preseason prediction was that much of the problem in 2007 should be attributed to the previous coaching staff, and specifically how they developed and coached these players. I felt that there was much more talent in Lincoln than we had seen.

After two games, we still haven't seen much of it.

So is it still a work in progress, or are the critics right... Is the talent level at Nebraska THAT low now?

How could that be? Haven't we been told of the unbelievable level of talent that's been recruited in recent years? Wasn't recruiting going to be the solution? Shatel today dropped the following bombshell:
"Ironically, it's not a stretch to say Frank Solich was a better recruiter than Callahan and Co.

We'll make that judgment later. There might be a ton of talent here that is waiting to blossom, waiting to click."
Stop for a second and digest that statement for a second. (That statement would have certainly been Blasphemous not too long ago. Might still be, in fact!) The jury is still out on Callahan's recruiting. Oh sure, there are those meaningless Rivals ratings, to be sure. But the real proof is in how the teams play and how the players progress through this system and potentially advance to the next level. And to be sure, Solich put a whole bunch of players (mostly on defense) into the NFL. We'll have to wait to judge Callahan's players until their eligibility expires.

For now, we're still waiting for the promise to be realized. Maybe it never will. Maybe it's going to take a little longer. Maybe 2007 wasn't just a poor coaching...maybe the problems run much deeper.

We don't know at this point. Bo Pelini told the Lincoln Journal-Star that his players haven't played near the level they are capable of:
"I don't think we've played nearly as well as we've practiced. We've been making bonehead errors. Obviously, it's bad because we have high expectations, but it's good that there's a lot more to do, a lot more to practice, a lot more for us to accomplish."
If he's correct, and it's just a matter of correcting the mistakes and improving, those high expectations many fans have made might still be realized. But improvement needs to be made soon, as the schedule starts becoming less forgiving.


Corn Nation said...

Wow. Shatel had to go back and use the Solich name to drum up any interest in one of his columns.

Huskerland spent a lot of time pumping up Pelinimania before the season. Now that the season is here and it's clear these aren't the '95 Huskers, it seems so anticlimactic.

Husker_Engineer said...

People would be a lot happier cheering loud and enjoying the team we have instead of wishing it was 1995.y

Josh said...

I don't think it's a matter of Solich being a "better" recruiter than Callahan...I think that Solich had a more complete recruiting philosophy than Callahan did. In other words, we're very deep in talent at some positions, but others were horrendously neglected in recruiting by Callahan's staff (especially on defense).